“Why do mares and does eat oats?” asks Isla.
“Oats look to me like dry little paper bits,” says Will. “Ugh. Does Bambi’s mom know something we don’t?” Will adds.
“Well,” says I, stalling for time over yet another why question. “Mom’s are usually right.” I smile. “And people eat oats, too. They’re good for us, but I can’t remember exactly why. Let me get back to you.”
I look into this burning question and guess what? Oats are another of our super foods! That’s why you find oatmeal porridge or oat cereals for breakfast on many popular weight loss diets, even ones that feature low-carb eating.
Groats, steel-cut, stone-ground, or old-fashioned rolled… the type of oats makes little difference to the nutrition you get – they’re all good. All these kinds of oats are made from the whole grain. Like other whole grains, they are great sources of fiber. But they have more of a special kind of fiber than other cereals. It’s called soluble fiber and it helps keep cholesterol in your blood down. Its fiber and protein also make oats slow to digest into sugar, a feature called low-glycemic. This means oats gives you a steadier level of sugar in your blood… so you stay full longer and you’re less likely to get diabetes. Oats is also a good source of good fats, the unsaturated omega fatty acid kind. Extensive studies show these help keep your heart healthy longer.
Just stay away from instant (or quick-cooking) oats. They are more processed than other oats. Time saved when making instant over old-fashioned rolled oats is minimal, but with instant, you lose the low-glycemic benefits.
Confirmed meat-eater that I am, I’ve never been a fan of breakfast cereal. So I’m overjoyed to learn that I can make cookies from regular rolled oats. The two recipes here are easy enough that even little kids can join in making them. One recipe doesn’t even need baking… just mix it up, roll it into balls and eat. Neither has flour, so they can be enjoyed by folks on a gluten-free diet. And both are sweetened mainly from fruit and maple syrup. You can even leave the maple syrup out if you need to. I served the oat balls in ice-cream cones, convinced that presentation makes a difference to kids.
“Yum,” says Will, my picky eater, spying the mound of cones on the dining-room table.
“Me too,” says Isla, reaching for a pink one.
Here are the recipes, with thanks for inspiration to those who’ve tried them before me.
Banana-Cranberry Oatmeal Cones
Adapted from Tiffany Lane Handmade
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup dried cranberries (or any dried fruit), chopped if necessary Wet Ingredients
3 ripe bananas, mashed until smooth
1/4 cup hazelnut oil (or any vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond or cocoanut extract 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, coconut flakes, almond meal, flax-seed meal, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cranberries until evenly mixed.
In another bowl (or blender), combine mashed banana, coconut oil, vanilla and almond extracts. Then pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
Drop tablespoons of batter onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Be careful and check often, because mine burnt on the bottoms at 20 minutes. Delicious as is for breakfast or with soft unripened goat’s cheese (or any low-fat cream cheese).
Adapted from My little bit of this and that
This recipe reminds me of the pemmican our ancestors made from nuts, seeds and buffalo fat to last them through long trips and the winter months. I think peanut butter makes a tasty substitute for buffalo grease. Serve these in cones or take some of these balls in your backpack on a hike through the wilds.
1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup pistachios (optional)
2 tablespoons of homemade nutella (optional)
1/2 cup ground almonds
pinch of salt
1/4 cup apple juice
a few chocolate chips to garnish
Mix all this together. Add more juice if the mixture isn’t sticky enough to form balls. Make little balls of dough and top each one with a chocolate chip. You can eat these balls directly, or you can bake them on a greased pan at 350F for 10 or 15 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack before tasting.